CHOC Children’s has long been committed to providing patient- and family-centered care. This includes letting patients define their own family, inviting family members to be active members of the patient’s care team, and fostering open communication and information sharing between physicians, nurses and families.
CHOC’s newest Patient & Family Centered Care Coordinator Marla Dorsey will allow CHOC’s customer service team to further deliver on the hospital’s commitment to provide this high level model of care and service to patients and families. Marla’s service will be based upon the four guiding principles to patient- and family-centered care: dignity and respect, information sharing, participation, and collaboration.
“I want patients to remember that CHOC is a family too,” says Marla. “No matter what role you play at CHOC, every member of the CHOC family is committed to supporting every member of your family.”
Marla’s role includes making rounds to different units in the hospital to check in on parents and families. “Sometimes families just need someone to talk to, a break from medical conversations. Maybe their child is nonverbal and they just want to share about their own needs, so for a little while they can forget they’re in a hospital,” she explains.
Marla will also oversee the Family Resource Center, which features a library for patients and families as well as multimedia stations for entertainment or to research pediatric illnesses. She’ll also coordinate parent education opportunities with CHOC’s Family Advisory Council, a group that meets regularly to provide input, from a family’s perspective, on decisions and initiatives at CHOC.
Although Marla is new to CHOC’s customer service department, her journey at CHOC started many years ago. She visited regularly as a young child when a family member was a patient. Later, when her daughter was diagnosed with Type I diabetes, she found herself back at CHOC. “I had this sense of familiarity when my daughter was referred to the endocrinology team here,” Marla says. “Choco’s been in my life for such a long time, and CHOC has grown so much in what they do to support patients and families since I began my health journey here with my daughter over 15 years ago.”
After her daughter’s diagnosis, Marla began volunteering with the PADRE Foundation (Pediatric-Adolescent Diabetes Research Education), of which CHOC is a partner. She then moved into a full-time position in CHOC’s clinical education department, before moving to her new role in customer service.
“I keep moving closer and closer to the heart of the hospital, where the kids are,” says Marla. “These are the kids who are going to be the most amazing leaders in our community. Look at what they’re accomplishing every day by fighting for their health when they’re here at CHOC!”